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When I was a little girl, the thing that I most wanted to do was to be able to sing, but as fortune would have it, I can’t carry a tune. One year at River Oaks Elementary School, a humane decision was made by the principal that anyone who wanted to be in the chorus could—you didn’t have to try out, though you did have to sing “Bicycle Built for Two” so the teacher could place you. I got up and sang, and of course, everybody laughed. The teacher said, “You can be in the chorus, but you can’t sing. You’ll have to mouth the words.” The terrible part of it was that I was the one who knew the words to everything. At the time, we were just getting the state song (“Texas, our Texas, all hail the mighty state”), and I was the only one in the chorus who knew all the words. So I had to go around to each of the kids and teach them the words and then stand there and not be able to do anything but move my lips onstage.
Linda Ellerbee, who was born in College Station and grew up in Houston, won two Emmy awards in 25 years as a broadcast journalist. Today she is the executive producer of Lucky Duck, a television production company specializing in children’s programming.